You’ve had acid reflux for years. Recently, it’s gotten to the point that you don’t know what to eat. You get a burning pain in your throat and upper chest that feels like you’re having a heart attack.
If medication hasn’t helped control your reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it’s time to consider a surgical alternative.
Our board-certified bariatric and general surgeons at Turnquest Surgical Solutions treat many patients with acid reflux. Some of our patients conquer it with diet and medication, but for others, the pain continues.
In those cases, we might recommend a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical procedure called LINX®.
Determining eligibility for LINX
Not everyone is a candidate for LINX. Following are contraindications that usually preclude a LINX procedure:
- Swallowing problems
- Hiatal hernia more than 2cm
- Body mass index (BMI) more than 35
- Barrett’s esophagus/abnormal cells
- Other anti-reflux surgery
- Allergy to titanium, stainless steel, or nickel
If you’re cleared for those conditions, you then have an upper GI endoscopy and other physical testing in preparation for the procedure.
Why treating chronic acid reflux is important
You have acid reflux because the sphincter valve linking your esophagus to your stomach isn’t working properly. It should stay closed after you eat, keeping the food in your stomach, but it doesn’t.
Because the valve doesn’t close, some of the partially digested food and stomach acids may travel back up your esophagus, even reaching your throat.
Chronic acid reflux needs treatment. More than 25% of those with severe acid reflux develop Barrett’s esophagus, a condition in which the lining of your esophagus has experienced prolonged inflammation.
Over time, the tissue can develop precancerous characteristics, which can become esophageal cancer.
How does the LINX system work to stop acid reflux?
The LINX procedure corrects the problem with your sphincter valve. Using minimally invasive techniques, we place a ring of metal beads around the outside of your esophagus. The beads have magnets inside. The magnets work to keep the valve closed, akin to a purse snapping shut when pressure is applied to a latch.
When you eat, the pressure of the food pushes the beads apart, so your eating is undisturbed.
LINX is an improvement in surgical treatment of acid reflux
The LINX procedure takes about an hour under general anesthesia. The beads and magnets start working right away. It’s a relatively simple surgical procedure that yields big benefits. You’re able to eat normally after the surgery.
You receive a LINX implant card after the surgery. You should inform everyone on your health care team that you have the implant, because it interferes with MRI procedures.
In the past, reflux surgery involved a more invasive approach called fundoplication, which connected a portion of the stomach to the lower esophageal sphincter. One expert calls LINX the “next generation of anti-reflux treatment.”
LINX has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 2012 as a surgical treatment for acid reflux. In a highly regarded study, 90% of patients had stopped using daily reflux proton pump inhibitors within the first year after surgery.
Call or book an appointment online today at one of our Houston, Texas, locations for expert treatment of your acid reflux. We also have telehealth appointments available.